The husband of a missing mother-of-three has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife.
Larry Millete’s plea came after it was revealed that Larry he allegedly choked his wife until she lost consciousness.
Millete, who was arraigned in Southern California today on a murder charge, began acting increasingly strangely leading up to his wife Maya ‘May’ Millete’s January 7 disappearance.
Her friends said he became ‘controlling’ and ‘stalker-like’ as he ‘became obsessed with [Maya’s] activities and communications with other people’ CBS 8 reported.
Maya once told a friend that he choked her to the point of losing consciousness, according to a warrant obtained by the outlet.
Larry Millete pleaded not guilty in a Chula Vista courtroom Thursday to a murder charge related to his wife May, who is missing and presumed dead
Millete was represented by defense attorney Bonita Martinez (pictured at left)
Larry was taken into custody at the family home on Tuesday morning around 11am, after murder charges were filed by the San Diego district attorney on Monday. Their three children are safe, but May’s body has never been found.
The warrant also indicated that May sent her friend a text the day before she disappeared, saying: ‘I told him I’m filing for divorce whether he likes it or not. I’m done trying to make it amicable for the sake of the kids.’
The court filing also showed that police considered Larry to have ‘a frantic, desperate, unbalanced mindset coupled with violent and sometimes homicidal ideation.’
Police in Chula Vista, California, on Tuesday arrested Larry Millete (left) for the murder of his missing wife, May (right), who was last seen alive on January 7
On Tuesday afternoon Summer Stephan, the district attorney, said that Larry had tried to put a curse on his wife as the relationship deteriorated and she began talking about wanting a divorce. Stephan also revealed the final call made by Maya before she vanished had been to a divorce lawyer.
‘Extensive search warrants uncovered a trail of things that were happening, that were of great concern,’ Stephan told a press conference outside the Chula Vista Police Department.
‘Larry was trying to hold on to May.
‘He resorted to contacting spell casters, who would be asked to make May stay in the relationship.
‘In December he was asking for May to become incapacitated, to be in an accident and have broken bones so she could stay at home.’
Summer Stephan, the San Diego County district attorney, on Tuesday afternoon addressed a press conference and detailed the evidence they used to charge Larry Millete with his wife’s murder
During the January 7 call, May spoke to a divorce lawyer and set a date for an appointment on January 12, Stephan said.
The last message that May sent was at 8:15pm on January 7, when she used Facebook Messenger to contact her family.
A few hours earlier, in the afternoon of January 7, Larry had sent a text message which read: ‘I think she wants me to snap and I am shaking inside ready to snap.’
May’s phone activity stopped at 1:25am on January 8.
‘Larry’s messages to the spell caster turned from wanting to keep May to wanting to punish a man he blamed for the failed relationship,’ said Stephan.
Larry has been charged with one count of murder, on or around January 7, and one count of possession of an illegal weapon.
Larry was a known gun fanatic, who had been ordered to give up his guns.
Police and FBI agents are seen outside the Millete family home in Chula Vista on Tuesday night
Chula Vista police were still combing the scene on Tuesday night, having arrested Larry at 11am that morning
FBI agents were seen on Tuesday night taking away boxes of evidence for further analysis
An FBI agent is seen outside the garage of the Milette house. Larry was alone when he was arrested on Tuesday morning; their three children are safe and well
The street in Chula Vista was cordoned off on Tuesday night as the property was searched
FBI agents could be seen bagging up evidence to take away for further analysis
Larry was being held on Tuesday night without bail, as the FBI team combed his home
The disappearance of May Milette in January shocked the local community in Chula Vista, and many people joined in the search for her. The street is seen on Tuesday, cordoned off after Larry’s arrest for her murder
The couple are pictured with their three children before May’s disappearance
Authorities released this photo of Larry’s stash of weapons and four passports. They say the haul includes two illegally-owned AR-15 rifles
‘He had not turned over one of those weapons, a .40 calibre gun, and it remains outstanding today,’ said Stephan.
She said investigators were still actively seeking the body, and May’s sister Maricris Drouaillet, who raised the initial alarm, made a tearful appeal on Tuesday afternoon for help.
‘I still want to see my sister,’ she said, sobbing at the press conference.
‘I still want her to come home to us.
‘Please, if you know anything at all. Please help us, I’m pleading.
‘I still want her to come home.
‘We made a promise to her 11-year-old daughter we will bring her home. Please.
‘Let the kids know where their mommy is at. Let them know the truth.’
Drouaillet expressed how the family aspect of the arrest has been ‘really hard’ for her to grasp.
‘It’s hard to go against family,’ she while trying to hold back tears. ‘He’s been with us for 20 years. My sister did love him, she gave him three kids.’
Maricris’s husband Richard Drouaillet added: ‘That she didn’t abandon them. She didn’t get up and leave.’
Maricris Drouaillet sobbed on Tuesday as she addressed a press conference and begged for Larry to say where her sister was buried
Maricris, pictured with her husband Richard, was the one who called the police on the evening of January 8, after her sister did not return her calls
Maricris said she had promised her sister’s children that she would find out what happened to their mother
Police and Feds swarmed the Millete family’s home in Chula Vista on Tuesday
An overhead shot shows police vehicles lined up outside the Millete home
FBI agents were on the scene at the time of Larry Millete’s arrest for murder
May, 39, was last seen alive at her family’s home in Chula Vista on January 7.
In late July, after searching the Millete home three separate times, police named Larry a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance.
According to the police department’s press release, investigators have interviewed 87 people, written 67 search warrants and followed up on more than 130 tips about Maya’s possible location or reason for the disappearance.
Stephan said that neighbors heard nine loud bangs coming from the Millete house at 9:57pm on the night of January 7.
Prosecutors detail Maya Millete’s disappearance
DECEMBER 2020: Larry Millete is in contact with ‘spell casters’, and switches from asking for spells so his wife doesn’t leave him to asking for spells so she is incapacitated in an accident, and is unable to leave him.
JANUARY 7, 2021: May Millete telephones a divorce lawyer and makes an appointment for January 12. Larry, aware of the call, texts: ‘I think she wants me to snap and I am shaking inside ready to snap.’
8:15pm: May sends her final message – a Facebook Messenger message to her family.
9:21pm: Larry takes a screenshot of how much cryptocurrency cash is in his account.
9:57pm: Surveillance cameras at a neighbor’s house detect nine loud bangs. The FBI is unable to confirm whether they were gunshots.
10:34pm: Neighbors see the Millete children playing outside, which strikes them as unusual given the late hour.
JANUARY 8, 2021, 5:58am: Larry is seen moving their Lexus so that the trunk is inside the garage and cannot be seen on surveillance cameras.
6:45am: Larry and their four-year-old son drive away, leaving the two older children home alone. He leaves his phone at home, and his boss and father call wanting to know where he is.
3:29pm: Larry switches the GPS on to get directions back to their Chula Vista home – a drive of 2.5 hours.
6pm: Larry and the four-year-old arrive home.
6:30pm: May’s brother comes to the house to check on her, but can’t see her. Larry says he was at work all day, then says actually he was at Solana Beach. May’s sister Maricris calls the police.
The FBI looked at the surveillance camera footage from the neighbors’ home, but was unable to confirm that the loud noise was gunshots.
At 10:34pm that night, neighbors heard Millete children playing in backyard – something they thought was unusual, due to time of night.
Larry was seen at 5:58am the next morning, January 8, moving his black 2015 Lexus GX 460.
‘The Lexus was already backed into the driveway,’ said Stephan.
‘He repositioned the Lexus so the back was in the entrance to the garage, and no video camera could capture whether a body was put in the back of the Lexus or not.’
Stephan said that Larry took their four-year-old child from the house, but left the older two indoors.
He left the house at 6:45am, and did not return for 11 hours and 21 minutes, Stephan said.
Larry told investigators he had gone to Solana Beach, a coastal city 35 miles north of the family home.
When asked to point to where he and the four-year-old had been, he showed them Torrey Pines beach, four miles from Solana Beach.
Larry left his phone at home, and while he was away his boss was calling him, asking why he was not at work. Larry’s father also texted him, saying his boss was looking for him.
The 2015 vehicle’s GPS was not the most modern, and so investigators were unable to track his moves. They did note that he switched the directions to his home address in Chula Vista when he was two and a half hours from home, at 3:29pm.
Stephan said that the long period of time was why they were asking people far and wide whether they had seen the car.
‘The radius may be very vast and large,’ she said.
‘Someone may think – I did see a Lexus pulled off the road on January 8, 2021.’
Larry arrived home around 6pm on January 8.
Thirty minutes later, May’s brother went to house.
‘He was worried as not heard from her,’ said Stephan.
‘He went to her room, knocked on door, no response.
‘Larry first told the brother that he was at work and didn’t know what May was doing.
‘Then he changed the story and said he went to the beach with the four year old.’
May’s sister, Maricris, then called police.
When police searched the Millete residence in January 2021 in connection with Maya’s disappearance, Larry was said to have told officers he knew they were coming for his guns and gave multiple firearms to friends.
He then refused to name those in possession of his guns.
In July, police issued Larry with a gun restraining order after officers discovered a photo on his phone which showed ’16 firearms, four U.S. passports, several high capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his possession,’ according to documents.
The restraining order stated that authorities were concerned that Larry ‘may flee the state or country with his three young minor children or… shoot it out with police due to photographs showing several unregistered and/or illegal assault rifles’.
Larry and May share three children together, aged four, 10 and 11.
Another photo, also purportedly found on Larry’s phone, showed the couple’s four-year-old son standing on a kitchen table surrounded by the weapons.
Officials claimed that Larry owned a total of 22 weapons – of which only eight were legally registered to him.
By the time the restraining order was issued, police had recovered only two semi-automatic weapons belonging to Larry.
May, 39, (pictured) vanished on January 7 from the home in Chula Vista that she shared with her husband and their three children aged 4, 10 and 11
In the months since May had gone missing, her relatives have spoken out several times about how her marriage to Larry was unraveling and she was preparing to file for divorce.
In April, it emerged that May had shared a post in a Facebook group for mothers on the same day she vanished, claiming she was seeking advice on a local family law firm on behalf of ‘a friend’.
‘Asking for a friend – Has anyone used or have gone through the services of collaborative practice San Diego for divorce? Looking for insights? Positive/negative aspect?’ she wrote, according to Fox News.
She eventually made an appointment with divorce lawyer Marisa Nahale for the following week, but went missing before they could meet.
In May, May’s older sister Maricris told Fox News her sibling had been considering leaving her husband over the last year.
‘I think she was ready in December, and then she finally decided to file that divorce that day,’ she said.
Maricris’ husband Richard had previously said that the last time he and his wife saw Maya was on a camping trip shortly before she vanished, during which she warned them: ‘If anything happened to me, it would be Larry.’
In an interview with Fox News, Richard explained that Larry and Maya’s marriage began falling apart months earlier, and claimed that Larry repeatedly reached out to his wife’s family about their problems.
‘He was more of an aggressor, trying to get us involved,’ Richard said of Larry.
‘He was trying to get us on his side, when we felt like it was a lot of lies that he was telling us.’
May’s family have claimed she confided in them days before she vanished that ‘if anything happened to me, it would be Larry.’ Larry and Maya together
Richard recalled how Larry had called him asking for advice about his marriage last summer.
TIMELINE OF MAYA MILLETE’S DISAPPEARANCE
January 7, 2020: Maya Millete is last seen at her home in Chula Vista, the same day she posted a message on Facebook asking for advice on divorce attorneys.
January 10: Maya’s family visits her home and speaks to her husband Larry before reporting her missing.
January 23: Police execute their first search warrant at the Millete home.
April 1: Police search the home of Larry’s aunt and uncle in San Diego and seize several boxes of evidence – including six rifles.
April 21: The FBI, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and Naval Criminal Investigative Service join the Chula Vista Police Department’s investigation.
May 5: Larry is served with a temporary gun violence restraining order after cops discovered his arsenal of weapons, many of them illegally owned.
May 7: Police search the Millete home a second time.
May 19: Police announce a new search of an abandoned golf course a mile from the Millete home.
July 1: Police search the Millete home a third time and tow away Maya’s black Jeep.
July 22: Police confirm Larry Millete is a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance.
October 18: Larry is arrested and charged with Maya’s murder.
‘He just sounded desperate, you know, ‘You gotta listen to me. It’s her fault, it’s her fault,” Richard said.
He said that Larry began sending increasingly bizarre messages to his in-laws in the months that followed.
In September he allegedly sent May’s relatives a photo that showed a picture of the couple covered in what appeared to be drops of blood and four candles.
‘He did some extreme s**t,’ Richard said.
May’s relatives also told Fox News that they’ve been cautious about speaking out because they’re afraid of Larry.
An anonymous source claimed to Fox News in April that Larry suspected his wife of having an affair, and that he offered to pay a hit man $20,000 to kill the man last summer.
The source said Larry was still talking about it in January, in the days before May went missing, and that he seemed ‘pretty serious’ about it.
Investigators have searched the family home multiple times since May disappeared and dozens of searches have been held in the local community.
The most recent search of the family home was carried out on July 1 where May’s black Jeep was seen being towed away by authorities.
Police also carried out a search on the home with K-9 units in May.
The same month, investigators spent a week scouring the site of a golf course that shut down in 2018 and sits around a mile from May’s home.
Police did not specify what lead them to search the golf course.
Aerial images show the area includes a small body of water, sand traps from the old course and a large empty parking lot.
It is flanked by hills with hiking trails to the north, a neighborhood to the south and empty fields on either side.
Police executed their first search warrant at the Millete home on January 23, 13 days after Maya’s family visited her home, spoke to her husband and reported her missing.
All of May’s vehicles were outside her home, but they noted that she had not responded to a text since January 7.
Footage shot by ABC10 on Tuesday at the family home showed a large contingent of police officers and FBI agents swarming the Millete family’s home in Chula Vista.
Larry is being held in jail without bail.
On Thursday he will be arraigned at South Bay courthouse in Chula Vista.
He could face the death penalty if convicted, Stephan said.